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Aashka Goradia evicted from Bigg Boss

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December 28, 2012


23:31  Aashka Goradia evicted from Bigg Boss:  
TV actress Aashka Goradia, famous for playing Kalavati in 'Laagi Tujhse Lagan', has been evicted from the Bigg Boss house.

This was the second but final eviction for the actress, who was voted out earlier from the show only to enter the temporary mud house along with few other contestants.

"It feels great to have finally stepped out of the house, but there's a slight glitch that I got evicted in the 12th week, so close to the finale," Aashka told PTI over phone. 

Even though she did not expect to be evicted, Aashka said the show is at such a stage now that anything might happen. 

The sixth season of the Colors show is drawing to a close with few contestants left to battle it out for the title. 

"I want Sana Khan or Delnaaz Irani to win the show. Even Urvashi Dholakia has a good chance. This is a reality show and only people who are real should win," said Aashka. 

Asked about her reasons for taking up the show, Aashka said, "There are only two reasons why one would take up such a show - popularity and money."
23:06  Pakistan to lift ban on YouTube within 24 hours:  
Interior Minister Rehman Malik today said Pakistani authorities would lift a ban on YouTube within 24 hours, over three months after the popular website was blocked so that people could not access clips from an anti-Islam film.

Malik announced the government's plan to lift the ban on YouTube and Twitter tonight.

"I chaired a high level (meeting with) all stakeholders on the (YouTube). (Good) job by PTA (to) block anti-Islamic material! (Please expect YouTube) unblocked in 24 hrs," he said in a tweet.

He acknowledged in another tweet that there was a "great demand to unblock (YouTube) from all sections of society", especially users of Twitter. 

"Expect the notification today! Hope u r all happy now," he said.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had in mid-September directed authorities to block YouTube for hosting "blasphemous material", including clips from the movie 'Innocence Of Muslims'.
21:55  Govt mulls deploying Home Gaurds on Delhi buses in evening:  A day after deploying home guards in Delhi Transport Corporation night service buses, the Delhi government on Friday said it is also examining the possibility of providing security cover in its bus fleet that operates in evening.

"We are considering deploying home guards on board the DTC buses that operate in the evening," a transport department official said.

The government, in the wake of gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus, had on Thursday started deploying home guards in 89 DTC night service buses which will be running between 11 pm to 5 am covering almost all parts of the city.
21:49  Ratan Tata's farewell letter to all Tata employees:   Ratan Tata, who stepped down as the chairman of the Tata group today as he turned 75, has written a warm farewell letter to his employees saying, "we have every reason to feel proud and feel confident in facing the challenges ahead'.

Read the full text of the letter here
21:17  Indian High Commission with Delhi rape victim:  The family of the Delhi gang-rape victim has been informed that her condition has deteriorated. The Indian High Commission of India is with the girl and her family at this crucial time, said the medical bulletin from Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital.    
20:51  Rape vicitim shows signs of 'severe organ failure' :   The condition of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim has worsened, said doctors of the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore where she is undergoing treatment.

"There are signs of severe organ failure. The girl has been put on maximum artificial support," the medical bulletin from the hospital said. 

Earlier in the day Dr Kelvin Loh, the CEO of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, in his latest statement said, "Our medical team's investigations upon her arrival at the hospital yesterday showed that in addition to her prior cardiac arrest, she also had infection in her lungs and abdomen, as well as significant brain injury. The patient is currently struggling against the odds, and fighting for her life."
19:40  Bus in which girl was raped fined 8 times in 2 yrs:  The bus that a 23-year-old medical student was brutally raped in earlier this month, was a repeat offender, reports NDTV.

According to the police, it had been fined eight times and impounded six times in the last two years. In July this year, it was impounded for picking up passengers without a permit, much the way it was used on the evening that the rape vicitim and her friend boarded it.

Read the full report here
18:53  Na! Bengal will NOT be partitioned: Mamata:  In a blunt message to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha demand, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today ruled any division of West Bengal.

"There will be no division of Bengal. Darjeeling is not outside West Bengal. Dooars is not outside West Bengal," Banerjee said while launching the campaign in North Bengal for next year's panchayat elections.

"People living in the plains and hill areas will stay together," the chief minister apparently said this referring to GJM leaders in Darjeeling who have renewed their demand for inclusion of Terai and Dooars in the jurisdiction of the new hill council, Gorkha Territorial Administration.

Banerjee was on the second day of her visit to North Bengal to make an on-the-spot study of the implementation of state government projects.
18:45  Trai against allowing govt, entities in broadcast/ distribution:  The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Friday stuck to its earlier recommendation that central and state governments or entities owned by them should not be allowed to be in broadcasting and television channel distribution businesses. Read
18:26  Ratan says tata, warns of tough fiscal environment:   As he exits India's leading business conglomerate, Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata today said India's difficult economic environment will most likely continue in the next year but its growth will be reestablished after the present 'passing phase'.

Tata, who turned 75 today and retired after half-a-century run in the organisation, 21 years of it as Chairman, also asked his colleagues in a farewell letter to show their "support", "commitment" and "dedication" to achieve success in these somewhat difficult times.

In the letter, Tata, who has been appointed Chairman Emeritus and passes on the baton to 44-year-old Cyrus Mistry, told the employees to live by the "value systems and ethical standards on which our group was founded".

"The difficult economic environment that we face in the current year will most likely continue through most of the next year. We will probably see continued constraints in consumer demand, over-capacity and increased competition from imports," he said.
17:57  Girl gone 3 years back with her mum :  A mother whose girl went missing after being kidnapped three-and-a-half years ago is today set for an emotional reunion.Gemma Wilkinson's daughter Atiya was whisked off to Pakistan by spurned dad Razwan Ali Anjum on her third birthday in 2009. Read more 
17:36  2012 best long reads:  From the sprawling sex-abuse scandal that shattered an Oklahoma megachurch to the shocking, decades-long ordeal of an innocent man convicted in Texas, the best essays and journalism of the year. Read
17:34  Why men should support gender equality. Read
17:28  Debating the death penalty :  A gang rape in Delhi has revived the debate about which crimes merit the death penalty in India, as calls for justice for the victim have quickly morphed into demands that the six suspects in police custody be executed.Such demands have come from protesters and politicians alike. In the capital, crowds at India Gate carried banners saying, "Hang the rapists. We want justice." Read more
17:14  Phelps was right, it's OK to pee in pool:  Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian ever, came under controversy during London 2012 when he admitted that many swimmers "pee in the pool' especially during long training sessions.

He also said it was OK to relieve yourself in the pool as the chlorine killed any germs. Now, scientists have confirmed that at least his facts are right, the Telegraph reported. Sense About Science (SAS), a charity which aims to dispel commonly held myths, especially those promulgated by celebrities, congratulated him on being scientifically correct.

In fact, biochemist Stuart Jones, said that urine is essentially sterile so there isn't actually anything to kill in the first place.
17:11  How India is turning Into China:  China is shakily authoritarian while India is a stable democracy indeed, the worlds largest. So goes the clich, and it is true, up to a point. But there is a growing resemblance between the two countries. Read
17:03  Sheela Balakrishnan to be new TN Chief Secretary:  Sheela Balakrishnan, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary to the Tamil Nadu Government, Municipal Administration and Water Supply department will be the new state Chief Secretary as per the State government's order. She will succeed Debendranath Sarangi, who is to retire as Chief Secretary on December 31.
So, both the chief secretary and the chief minister are women.
16:53  Tata's legacy has many lessons for biz leaders: Narayana Murthy:  Ratan Tata is leaving behind "lessons enough for ages" after leading the Tata group for over two decades, Infosys cofounder N R Narayana Murthy said. The legacy of Tata, who retires as chairman of the group today, is not just about the numbers but also the manner in which he has grown the business with a strong underpinning of values, he said. Excerpts from the interview on the Economic Times 
16:44  Hang them is no solution when 3 out of 4 rapists walk free:  Off with their heads! Yes, hanging has been suggested as one of the punishments for rapists, but should the people making this suggestion lose their heads too. Anil Dharker's column on Firstpost.com Read
16:39  Uday Shankar put Ravi Shankar on the path to fame:  In the heap of obituaries and appreciatory notices on Ravi Shankar's life and works that have appeared in the past few weeks, there is one glaring omission. Not one reference is to be found to the role Uday Shankar, the brother 20 years Ravi Shankar's senior, played in shaping the latter's destiny.

There would be no Pandit Ravi Shankar had not the senior brother, already on his way to be a legendary figure, taken charge of young Robu from the very beginning. None of the obituary notes acknowledge this datum; one is left wondering whether this is an instance of collective amnesia.
Read Ashok Mitra's piece on the Telegraph.
16:31  Be very afraid of the govt's naming and shaming of rapists:  What's a little naming-and-shaming compared to calls for public hangings and chemical castration? The government has decided it's going to prepare a database of all rape convicts across the country. So far, so good.But then it says it's going to put them on the NRCB website complete with photographs, names and addresses. And the public can access the website. Read
16:26  UP DGP seeks death penalty in cases of murder after rape:  Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Ambrish Chandra Sharma today suggested that murder after rape cases should be considered as rarest of the rare and sought death penalty for such culprits. In a letter to the state government, Sharma said, this provision will also ensure fear of police among those involved in such acts.

"I have written a letter to the state government asking it to take up the matter with Centre to ensure provisions of death penalty in cases of murder after rape", Sharma told PTI. In the letter, the DGP also said that those who indulged in eve-teasing or other forms of sexual harassment must be imprisoned immediately and strict action should be taken against them.
15:47  Park St rape victim: Don't ostracise us, help us get justice:   The Park Street rape survivor speaking to CNN IBN says she is shocked at TMC MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar's comments."It's shameful that a woman has made these comments. Victims are often ostracised, don't do that. Help us to get justice," she says. She also said the TMC and other parties should "not do politics with us."

15:18  Rape-suicide: Punjab police admit to lapses, concealed facts:  Right now, the Punjab police holding a press conference at Chandigarh on the Patiala rape case where a minor who was gang-raped committed suicide after the police failed to act on the case.

The Punjab DGP addressing the presser admits to lapses and says facts were concealed by the superintendent of police and senior officers. "We acted immediately against the erring officers and further investigation will reveal the truth," said the DGP.
15:06  TMC: Park St rape not rape, woman was with clients:   TMC MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar says there was a misunderstanding between the woman and the clients. She said the woman was in fact a prostitute and it "wasn't a rape at all."

On February 5 this year, the 37-year-old Anglo-Indian single mother was gangraped after she took a lift in a car from Park Street. She was raped in the moving car and then dumped on a road.

Initially, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the incident "fabricated', triggering a huge outcry from all the sections of the society, including media and social activists.

According to police sources, the sleuths have visited at least two foreign countries and around five cities in search of Kader, but in vain. Among the five accused named in the FIR, three were arrested and at present they are lodged in jail. Kader is still hiding in a foreign country, sources said.  
14:40  Constable Tomar wasn't hit: Sunday Indian newspaper:  The Sunday Indian photographer Ajit Krishna, who was present on Raisina Hill covering the protest against the Delhi gang rape when the late constable fell unconscious to the ground, puts together the chronology to what really happened at the scene of the incident. Krishna tells the story through his pictures and the time given on his camera '" as to when the pictures were shot. Read
14:36  Spicy soup burns hole through Chinese man's stomach:  Doctors in China were left dumbfounded when they discovered a hole in a man's stomach wall after he ate a notoriously spicy bowl of soup.The 26-year-old unnamed male had consumed a mala soup, meaning 'numbing hot', a traditional Chinese dish. Read more
14:30  Is Indias malnutrition crisis a myth?:  A question posed by Columbia University Professor Arvind Panagariya this year asked: Is India's malnutrition problem a myth? He argued that genetic differences, not poor nutrition, explain in large part why Indian children are often dramatically underweight and short for their age, compared to global norms. Read
14:19  Rape suicide: HC issues notice to Patiala IG:  Just in: The Punjab and Haryana court takes suo motu cognisance of the Patiala rape case and issues a notice to IG Patiala.

The rape victim committed suicide in Punjab after the police adopted a lackluster attitude and failed to act on her complaint at an appropriate time.  

While the entire country is currently seething with the issue of rape, the incident happened in Badshahpur village of Punjab's Patiala district on Wednesday (December 26) where the girl committed suicide while leaving behind a suicide note blaming the police and the rapists for her predicament.  

The girl was allegedly abducted by three men on the night of the festival Diwali in November after which she was gang-raped several times and then dumped on the road.
14:02  The Society of Painted and Dented Ladies responds:  Dear Abhijeet babu -- a witty take on the Congress MP's dented-painted remark. Read
13:52  Shocking tumour ad hopes to scare smokers:  A tumour growing from a cigarette will be the first image of a hard-hitting UK government campaign launched today to highlight the dangers of smoking. Read
13:47  Stir-fried placenta, anyone?:  From eating placenta to rubbing coffee on your skin: how celebrities went to war against science. Read
13:23  Like Honey Singh? Lyrics say, 'I'm a rapist':  Honey Singh's brazenly pornographic and abusive anti-women songs glorifying rape and violence against women has evoked little protest. Read
13:18  Want to know your life span? Take a blood test :  Researchers claim to have developed a new controversial 'lifespan' test that can tell how long a person will live by determining the rate of ageing. The blood test estimates how fast someone is ageing by measuring the length of microscopic structures at the ends of each chromosome called telomeres, which keep each chromosome from falling apart when cells divide, they said.

Telomeres shorten after each cell division and animal studies have shown that a high percentage of short telomeres in blood cells is associated with a shorter-than-normal life expectancy, which is why blood tests could provide a guide to ageing and life expectancy.
13:03  Fukushima radiation fears linked to child obesity:  Almost two years after nuclear disaster, Japanese education ministry report suggests children are still kept indoors making them obese. Read
12:56  The problem is apathy. Not activism. Prem Panicker's blog on anti-rape protests. Read
12:53  Peter Parker, the alter ego of Spider-Man, killed off :  In other stories: After 50 years of spinning webs and catching criminals Peter Parker, the alter ego of Spider-Man, has met his doom. Read
12:47  Cong won't take action against 'dented painted' Abhijeet:   Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee had apologised for his remark that women protesting against rape were "dented-painted" and there was no scope for action against him, the party said on Friday.

"He has realised it himself and apologised. Where is the scope for action," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters.

The controversy had erupted Thursday after Mukherjee, the son of President Pranab Mukherjee and a Congress MP from Jangipur in West Bengal, was quoted as telling a TV channel on Christmas: "Those who claim to be students - I can see many beautiful women among them, they were highly dented-painted - they're giving interviews on TV, they've brought their children to show them the scenes." He later issued an "unconditional apology.
12:38  Questions raised about media circus outside Safdarjung:  On Wednesday night, the entrance of Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi resembled a carnival, overrun with police officers, eager journalists and curious passersby.  At least two dozen television news vans were staked outside, awaiting the latest word on the condition of the 23-year-old woman who was gang-raped on a Delhi bus last week. Read
12:31  Comparisons between the Park Street gang-rape in Kolkata and the Delhi gang-rape case. The Telegraph has it.
12:28  Tata remains at the top:  The Telegraph pays tribute to Ratan Tata, who retires as chairman of the Tata Group today. Read
12:23  Comparing Harvard apples with JNU oranges:  Any ranking of global educational institutions will be problematic if it does not take into account disparities in resources between rich and poor countries. Read
12:21  Lessons in policing, from a university:  The Stanford police department is an example of how law enforcement can be both non-adversarial and effective. Read
12:20  No Santas at this police station:  A personal account of how 16 women, who went to protest the Delhi gang rape on December 25 ended up being arrested. Read
12:09  66 per cent children face sexual exploitation in Rajasthan:  Sixty-six out of 100 children in Rajasthan are sexually exploited and 50 per cent of the perpetrators are known to the children; 39 per cent of girls living on pavements are sexually exploited before the age of 10; 63 per cent of school-going girls are exploited by their own family members and relatives. Read more
12:04  Ratan Naval Tata retires today, new frontiers await Cyrus:  On the face of it, there is a lot that differentiate the incumbent from the successor - Ratan Naval Tata and Cyrus Mistry. Tata was 54 in 1991 when he took the mantle at Bombay House, the headquarters of the the salt-to-software Tata group. At 44, Mistry is a lot younger.


Ratan Tata already had a job offer from IBM back in 1964, which he refused at the behest of a certain Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy (JRD) Tata to enter the House of Tata for a long and fruitful career.


Mistry joined the board of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co - a firm that his grandfather founded - as director in 1991, the same year Tata took over as chairman of Tata Sons. Three years later he was appointed managing director of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group. Read more
11:57  Gang-raped teen commits suicide:  Sushilkumar Shinde confirms that the condition of the rape victim continues to be extremely critical and she may not be fit for surgery.

Meanwhile, another rape victim committed suicide yesterday. In mid-November, an unnamed 17-year-old girl was gang-raped in Patiala. She had reportedly spent much of December begging and badgering the police to take the case seriously and investigate and eventually arrest her attackers.

Sadly, those things never happened -- or they were happening very, very slowly as the police worked to convince her to give up. Well, on Wednesday night she did. She swallowed poison, committing suicide. Read more
11:51  Decision on Telangana in a month: Home minister:  The all-party meet on Telangana ends inconclusively. Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde says that a decision on statehood will be taken in a month. "I will first brief the cabinet about the outcome of the meeting. Some representatives wanted decision quickly. I can assure you that the decision on Telangana will be taken in a month," said Shinde.   
11:48  40% Chinese dare not go out at night:  A recent government survey on 38 cities in China showed that 39.91 percent of people dare not go out at night and that 38.69 percent would worry about the safety of their personal property if they left home for a long period.

On December 20, 2012, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences issued the Public Service Blue Book 2012. The Blue Book examined the causes of people's lack of a sense of security.

"The intense changes in social structure will result in increased uncertainty and risks. Deep adjustments in income redistribution could lead to polarization, conflicts of interest, and social psychological imbalances. Some people in the low-income population, with hostility toward the unequal distribution, might wantonly release that hostility, thus leading to increases in public security related incidents.'
11:45  Year-end brings life to capital market, but...:  Offers for sale to institutional investors accounted for as much as 66% of the total Rs 36,011 crore mop up from equity market in 2012. However, IPOs saw lacklustre response from retail investors. Read
11:40  Rape victim has brain, lungs infection: S'pore hospital:  The Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, where a young woman recently gang-raped in New Delhi is now being treated, issued the following statement on her condition this morning from Dr Kelvin Loh, the hospital's chief executive:

"As at 28 Dec, 11am (Singapore time) the patient continues to remain in an extremely critical condition. She is still receiving treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital's Intensive Care Unit.

"Our medical team's investigations upon her arrival at the hospital yesterday showed that in addition to her prior cardiac arrest, she also had infection of her lungs and abdomen, as well as significant brain injury. The patient is currently struggling against the odds, and fighting for her life.

"A multi-disciplinary team of specialists has been working tirelessly to treat her since her arrival, and is doing everything possible to stabilise her condition over the next few days.

The High Commission of India has been fully supportive in helping the hospital and her family, and ensuring that the best care is made available."
11:36  Best being done for my daughter: Father of rape victim:   The Straits Times, Singapore today reported that the family of the girl, who is battling for life after being gang-raped in a moving bus in New Delhi 12 days ago, is shell-shocked, but thankful.

"The father said he is reassured that the best is being done for his daughter, and the rest lies in the hands of God," it said citing a source who had met the girl's father and her two brothers. The father, who is in the late 40s, repeatedly expressed his gratitude to the Indian government and Singapore for facilitating the travel and treatment.

"Aside from the trauma of the rape, they [the family] have to get used to the idea that they are now in a foreign land," the daily quoted the source as saying.

"These are simple, rustic people who have never dreamt of boarding an aircraft, much less travel to a foreign country in an air ambulance," the source was quoted as saying.

The family members do not speak English and rely on interpreters to communicate with hospital staff. The High Commission of India has assigned a liaison officer with the family on 24 hour basis.
11:16  Constable Subhash Tomar was hit by six men:  Update on the mystery surrounding the death of constable Subhash Tomar during the anti-rape protests in Delhi. Backing police's account of Tomar's death, a Bulandshahr resident has claimed the cop was hit by a stone and beaten up by six men for at least half a minute. The witness, Salim Alvi (31), also claims he can identify two of the assailants "who were wearing Aam Admi Party caps".  Read more
11:13  Drama at 30,000 feet as rape victim's BP drops :  There was nerve-wracking drama at 30,000 feet when Nirbhaya, the 23-year-old Delhi gang rape survivor, went into a near collapse in the air ambulance on the night of Wednesday-Thursday as she was being ferried on a six-hour flight to Singapore's Mount Elizabeth hospital.Nirbhaya's blood pressure suddenly dipped alarmingly, and in what is being considered a medical feat, critical care specialists Dr P K Verma of Safdarjung hospital and Yatin Mehta from Medanta Medicity created an arterial line to stabilize her.

An arterial line is a thin catheter inserted into an artery - used mainly in intensive care - to monitor blood pressure real-time, rather than by intermittent measurements.
11:03  CPM: Mamata decorating her house with rape victims:   After Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee's sexist remarks ensured he remained a newsmaker through yesterday and on the headlines this morning, another politician from West Bengal has made a sexist remark, and this time the target is none other than Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

CPM leader Anisur Rehman made the crude remarks against the CM at a rally at Itahar in North Dinajpur.

He reportedly said, "The government promises that it will do well for everyone - girls, farmers and the poor. So what's good for girls? They are being raped everyday. Mamata is decorating her house with rape victims. 


"She used to once land up at Writers' Building, when we were in power, with rape victims seeking compensation. We used to look up and tell her that these girls won't do. Get some decent girls, in fact, nobody is more appropriate than you. You can go around saying 'I have been raped'. I asked 'didimuni' that their compensation is only Rs 20,000. 'What about yours? If someone rapes you, how much is your compensation'?"

The Trinamool Congress has submitted a Privilege Notice at the Assembly, demanding an apology within 48 hours. Reports say that Anisur has already tendered an unconditional apology. 


"For the last 21 years I have been an MLA in the state. I have never said anything like this before and this will not happen again in future. I apologise before all the people of the state," Rahman said reading out a statement before the media in the evening without taking any questions.-- IBN Live.

10:49  Will punish the guilty in gangrape case: PM:   No time should be lost in bringing the perpetrators of the barbaric gangrape incident to justice, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has said. 

"We are committed to bringing the guilty to justice as soon as possible," Dr Singh said on Friday. 

He added that the best possible medical care is being provided to the victim.

"We share the anger and anguish expressed over the crime," he said.
10:40  Panel to look into gangrape case: PM:  Out of respect for the gangrape victim, who is in a critical condition, the Congress will hold no celebrations on its formation day, Gandhi said on Friday.

Dr Singh informed that a panel had been appointed to look into the gangrape case.
10:26  Guilty should be punished immediately: Sonia:  Speaking on the Delhi gangrape case, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday said that the guilty should be punished immediately. 

Speaking at the same press meet, Dr Singh assured that those found guilty of the heinous crime will be punished.
09:38  Politics behind decision to shift rape victim to Singapore?:  The decision to shift the victim of the Delhi gangrape to a hospital in Singapore was taken by the central government, not by her doctors, according to a media report.

The doctors attending on the girl, who is still in a very critical condition, were asked if it would be safe to move her, not whether it was necessary.

Read the full report here
09:23  Canada-based LTTE operatives extradited to the US :  Two Canada-based LTTE operatives have been extradited to the US on charges of conspiring to acquire arms and ammunition, besides warship design software which the rebel group planned to use against the Lankan military.        

Piratheepan Nadarajah, 36 and Suresh Sriskandarajah, 32 were arraigned in a federal court in Brooklyn and pleaded not guilty to the charges.   

The two had been fighting extradition since 2006 when the US had first accused them of conspiring to support the LTTE.
09:22  US general who led Operation Desert Storm dies:  A retired American general, who led US forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, has died.        

General (Retired) H Norman Schwarzkopf, 78, died in Tampa near Florida where he was living after retirement.        

"General Schwarzkopf's skilled leadership of that campaign liberated the Kuwaiti people and produced a decisive victory for the allied coalition. In the aftermath of that war, General Schwarzkopf was justly recognised as a brilliant strategist and inspiring leader," US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.
04:42  Bilawal enters politics on Bhutto's death anniversary:  The son of Pakistan's slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto launched his political career on Thursday on the anniversary of his mother's death, vowing to continue her fight for democracy.

More than 200,000 people gathered at the Bhutto family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in the southern province of Sindh to pay their respects to Benazir and to hear Bilawal Bhutto Zardari make his first major public speech.

In an impassioned speech amid tight security, Bilawal -- the third generation of his family to go into politics -- promised to continue the fight for the poor and against "anti-democratic forces".

"Bhutto is an emotion, a love," he said.
04:40  Docs who took gang-rape vic to Singapore to return today:  
With Doctors at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore taking over the treatment of the Delhi gang-rape victim, the medical team which had accompanied her will return on Friday.

Sources said that the team of Indian doctors who had accompanied the patient to Singapore late on Wednesday night in an air ambulance have handed her over to the hospital and will be returning to New Delhi on Friday.

Besides a few doctors from Medanta MediCity Hospital in Gurgaon, the head of the Intensive Care Unit of Safdarjung Hospital P K Verma had accompanied Amanat to Singapore.
02:09  Peace envoy urges 'real' change in Syria:  
International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called today for "real change" and a transitional government in Syria but the armed opposition swiftly retorted that that could not include President Bashar al-Assad or his top lieutenants.

The envoy unveiled his initiative in Damascus as Russia, the Syrian regime's most powerful ally, denied the existence of a joint peace plan with the United States, amid a flurry of year-end diplomatic activity to try to end the bloody 21-month conflict.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted after talks with a Syrian delegation that the only alternative to a negotiated solution was "bloody chaos." 

"Change should not be cosmetic; the Syrian people need and require real change, and everyone understands what that means," the UN-Arab League envoy said on the fifth and final day of his latest peace mission to Syria.

"We need to form a government with all powers... which assumes power during a period of transition. That transition period will end with elections," Brahimi said. 
00:52  India lose 4-5 to Pak in Asian Champions final:  
India ended the year on a sordid note as they failed to defend their title, losing 4-5 to arch-rivals Pakistan in a high-scoring final of the second Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament Doha on Thursday.

Sans experienced players, a young Indian outfit put up a brave fight before surrendering before their much-experienced opponents, whom they had defeated 2-1 in the round robin stages of the tournament.

It was a neck-and-neck battle between the two sub-continent hockey giants as both the teams scored goals at will before Pakistan used their experience to good effect to emerge as the winners.

By virtue of this win, Pakistan have avenged upon their loss at the hands of India in the title clash of the inaugural edition of the event last year in Ordos, China.

Muhammad Waqas (7th minute, 57th) and Mohammad Imran (48th, 64th) scored a brace each for Pakistan while Shafqat Rasool (42nd) sounded the board once. 

For India S V Sunil (9th), vice-captain V R Raguunath (21st), Gurvinder Singh Chandi (55th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (59th) scored a goal each. 
00:51  Taliban storm check posts near Peshawar:  
Two security personnel were killed and 22 more reported missing after hundreds of Taliban fighters targeted three check posts near the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, officials said.

The check posts in the Frontier Region of Peshawar, which were manned by the Levies militia, were attacked early on Wednesday morning. 

Security officials were quoted by the media as saying that the missing personnel may have been kidnapped by militants.

Security forces launched an operation to recover the missing personnel, officials said.

The attack was carried out by about 200 militants armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks but officials blamed the Taliban.

The militants appeared to have come from nearby tribal areas that serve as bases for the Taliban, they said.

The militants took away weapons and vehicles from the check posts.
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